CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson women’s tennis team opens up the spring 2024 inaugural season in Indian Wells, Calif., as they face off in the Dual in the Desert, a hidden duals tournament.
The season will feature non-conference competition against ETSU, Georgia State, Western Carolina, Iowa, Alabama, Charlotte, Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Mercer, and Charleston Southern.
Conference play for the Tigers will begin when the team faces Syracuse on the road.
There will be several opportunities for fans to support the Tigers at home as the team hosts two home doubleheaders and notable matchups against Virginia, Louisville, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, and NC State. The 2023 ACC Championship Tournament will occur from April 17-21 in Cary, N.C. The ACC Tournament will be followed by the NCAA first and second rounds beginning on May 3.
High anticipation surrounds the start of the Clemson women’s tennis season as the program is debuting an entirely new coaching staff. Boomer Saia was named the fifth Head Coach of the women’s tennis program in June 2023 and has since remodeled the program for success. Saia stepped into his first head coach position at Iowa State University for the 2019-2023 seasons. While leading the Cyclones, Saia set records in Big 12 wins, overall wins, all-conference selections, and NCAA appearances while breaking several winless streaks. He was named the 2021 and 2023 Big 12 Coach of the Year.
“We are tremendously excited to start our first Tiger tennis season as a staff this Spring,” Saia says. “We have significant experience with our players, which we will rely on heavily as we enter ACC play. Our group is excited and ready to get our season underway!
Working alongside Coach Saia are Associate Head Coaches Ashleigh Antal and Tom Rees, who have had successful tennis careers. Antal had an impactful tennis career as she took her skills to play collegiate tennis for Vanderbilt University. While playing for the Commodores’, she started all four years while being a two-year captain for the team. Antal reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA doubles tournament, was named an NCAA Double All-American her senior season, and had a career-high ranking of No. 9 in doubles and No. 101 in singles. Rees played his first collegiate tennis season at Tusculum University, where he held the No. 1 singles and doubles spot. Following his first collegiate tennis season, Rees took his talent to UNC-Asheville from 2009-12. While playing for the Bulldogs, Rees was a Big South All-Conference selection and the league’s No. 2 doubles champion. Following college, he played on the ITF professional circuit in European and U.S. tournaments from 2012-16.
“I’m so excited to kick off the season with this group of Tigers,” Antal says. “We’ve made great strides in the fall and can’t wait to get out on the court to start this special season with 6 seniors. Getting the opportunity to coach alongside Coach Saia and Coach Rees, and lay the foundation for something truly incredible this season here at Clemson is the experience of a lifetime. We’re singularly focused on building the best student-athlete experience in the country and returning the Paw to a championship legacy!”
Antal and Rees have also proven successful on the coaching side of tennis. Antal started her coaching career at California State University Long Beach in 2018 before taking the head women’s tennis coach position at Appalachian State in 2020. Rees began coaching in 2012 as an assistant coach at North Georgia before taking a head coaching position in the men’s and women’s tennis programs at the University of Illinois-Springfield in 2014. Rees then stepped into the same position at Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2016. He took a break from coaching collegiate tennis in 2017-18 to become an ATP Tour coach before making his collegiate coaching return in 2019 as the assistant women’s tennis coach at Kansas State University. Following his handful of years at Kansas State, Rees was named head women’s tennis coach at the University of the Incarnate Word.
“Super excited for the 2024 season to get underway,” Rees says. “Our team continues to work hard with great energy every day, and they are eager to make their mark this year. We have a great schedule that will present plenty of opportunities for success – there will be adversity, injuries, highs, and lows, but as long as we stick to and trust our process, the future is a very bright Orange. Couldn’t be happier to be stepping on the court alongside Coach Saia and Coach Antal. We share a big-time vision for Clemson, a return to the top of the college tennis world, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside them.”
Clemson is in good hands under new authority as the team is coming off of a 16-12 record in the 2023 season, with a final national ranking at No. 42. It should be a promising season for the Tigers as they welcome back key senior players Sophia Hatton, Cristina Mayorova, and Daniella Medvedeva.
Hatton enters 2024 after finishing a notable 2023 season at 17-11 overall with a 7-5 conference record. Last season, she played primarily on court 5 in singles and court 3 in doubles. Hatton had a career-highlight win as she beat a nationally-ranked opponent in doubles.
Mayorova had an impressive 20-13 individual record while finishing 4-7 in ACC play. Mayorova played primarily on court 2 in singles and doubles, taking down two nationally ranked opponents in both.
Medvedeva finished last season strong with a record of 20-10 and a 7-6 ACC play record. She primarily played on court 4 in singles, beating four nationally-ranked opponents. While mainly playing on court 3 in doubles, Medvedeva beat two nationally-ranked opponents. After enduring shoulder surgery this off-season, she will gradually return as an asset to the team.
The team adds freshman Alina Tsyurpalevych while returning Jenna Thompson, Alexandra Anttila, and Leigh Van Zyl.
For all the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson women’s tennis, please visit ClemsonTigers.com and follow @ClemsonWTennis on Twitter and Instagram.